Angie Varona made one mistake – not listening to her parents as a teenager – and the consequence have been haunting her for four years.
Varona is now 18 years old, and she’s become a victim of the dark side of the internet.
Angie was just 14 years old in 2007, when she made the unfortunate mistake of uploading her pictures to the photo-sharing site Photobucket. To her surprise, her private photo account got hacked and, in no time, her pics were leaked and spread all over the web.
Varona said that her photos have shown up on porn sites, humor sites, message boards, and even on ads. The 18-year-old’s unauthorized pictures are also being circulated on Facebook, Twitterm and YouTube. One Facebook fan page even has more than 41,000 likes.
It’s now been four year since the photos were first leaked and she thought the online frenzy would stop, but instead, it’s getting worse.
Now, in an attempt to foster awareness about the dangers of uploading private photos to the web, Varona decided to speak to a publication called “Miami Montage”, which is put together by high-school journalism students at a University in Miami. She also went on the ABC program Nightline to share her harrowing ordeal.
The pictures that Varona uploaded years ago were meant for her then boyfriend. Luckily, there were no nude pictures.
“When you are at the beach and you are wearing a bikini, I don’t know how you are supposed to not expose yourself,” said Varona. “When I go out, I dress like every other girl. I dress with clothes that show, I guess, off my body in a way, but I don’t do it on purpose … Because I am larger on top it just looks more provocative, but it shouldn’t stop me from wearing it.”
Her photo-hacking experience has made her life a living hell.
“People wish to exploit me and I guess stalk me in a way…they want every picture that has ever been taken of me,” she said.
“When you’re 14, you don’t realize that the things you do really do matter at that point,” she told Nightline anchor Terry Moran in a television interview. “No one ever thinks that, ‘yeah, I’m going to take these pictures and it’s going to end up all over the Internet.’ You just do it for yourself.”
Soon after the pictures started spreading online, Varona told her parents Her father, Juan Varona, was certainly disappointed with his daughter, but angrier at the people who were spreading the pictures.
“At first you look at it and it’s on a porn site and it’s horrible,” he said. “Then you look at it and say, ‘It’s a bathing suit picture,’ I would rather have her not put it up, but it’s a bathing suit picture. None of her pictures are any worse than you would see in Victoria’s Secret.”
- Angie Varona Unwillingly Became Internet Sex Symbol (abcnews.go.com)